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Great news in the field and on the road

High-Flexion tires, compounds designed in space, tires optimised for electric buses as well as scores of new farming and industrial services

Massimo Condolo

The world of agricultural and industrial tires includes more than just tires: the range of services created to win over and build customer loyalty is equally important. This much is evident by the latest innovations in the sector which focus on everything around the wheel unit.


Continental, gentle giants

The German brand focuses on agriculture with two new Very high flexion (VF) models. Thanks to highly flexible sides, new belt design, wider and stronger shoulders as well as optimized bead design (wider and more flexible than in the past), the new Continentals guarantee durability and stability even with low inflation pressures or very heavy loads. VFs therefore make it possible maintain the same inflation pressure when changing the load or going from a soft to hard terrain or vice versa, without increasing fuel consumption or being too aggressive on the soil, particularly when spreading fertilizers. The new models prevent loss of performance with 40% less pressure or speed and load can be increased by as much as 40% without changing the pressure. Whether TractorMaster, CombineMaster or TractorMaster Hybrid, Continental’s latest efforts stand out for their innovative solutions including a new tread design and sensors for continuous pressure and temperature monitoring in the Hybrid version. The tire division of the multinational company is not alone when it comes to innovating agricultural systems: based on Continental technology (such as the ProViu 360 camera, in 2020 the second generation is expected) we find driver assistance systems, drones and robots to be used in the fields. In the meantime, TruckOn, Continental’s platform for maintenance and repair on commercial vehicles, has been enhanced by a collaboration with the Schaeffler Group, which specializes in bearings. In addition to Fag, Ina and Luk product data, TruckOn welcomed the independent RepXpert network launched by Schaeffler's aftermarket division.


Goodyear on planet Earth and in space

Goodyear's Proactive Solutions packages are the basis of a pilot project with Envoy Technologies, supplier of on-demand electric vehicle sharing, which aims to reduce downtime through data analysis. Goodyear will provide its predictive systems for maintenance and replacement; with mobile workshops, the service network sets in during recharging stops. The program will follow Envoy’s expansion with 1800 vehicles in some of the main US cities. Meanwhile, a Goodyear-sponsored experiment on the formation of silica, a basic component in tire compounds, will be conducted in the International Space Station.


Prometeon, regional routes and buses

The new Pirelli FH:01 (steering) and TH:01 Proway (drive) are Prometeon’s proposal to the needs of hauliers who travel over regional routes and on motorways. They promise to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) thanks to their low rolling resistance and durability, already excellent in previous series. Multi-seasonal with 3PMSF marking, they guarantee grip and traction in all conditions. The TH boasts a new tread designed for better traction on slippery surfaces throughout its life cycle. The compound reduces consumption by 20% compared to the previous series as evidenced by the European B label. Snow grip has also improved by 20% thanks to the new tread pattern, which ensures even wear. The H:01 Proway range is available in Europe and Turkey in sizes 315/60, /70 and /80 for 22.5" wheels. The Prometeon group has signed a supplier agreement with Anav, a national association of Confindustria representing over 600 bus rentals and public bus companies for a total fleet of 1800 vehicles, followed by a widespread network throughout the country. The multi-brand offer simplifies administrative management thanks to PRO-Management, a centralized invoicing system; for Anav this agreement represents an extension of its traditional activity of representation and assistance for its affiliates. PRO-Drive, part of the PRO-Services portfolio, is a new service born from an agreement with GreenRoad, specialized in fleet telematics. This will improve driving behaviour, reduce fuel consumption and total cost of ownership. It will be available in Europe from next year and will then be extended to the rest of the world.


Michelin, high voltage

The German market was the first to welcome Michelin's new urban electric bus tire, InCity Energy Z. Available as 275/70 R22.5, it provides for payloads of up to 8 tons compared to the current 7.5 tons, allowing for a greater axle load, as required by the latest generations of electric vehicles with battery packs capable of providing a significantly higher mileage. Suitable for both drive and steering axles, InCity’s tread was designed to reduce friction, wear and tear when braking and noise, and the sidewalls can cope with frequent impacts, potholes, manhole edges and curbs. Retreadable, the X InCity Energy Z maintains performance throughout its life thanks to Michelin’s Regenion technology and is marked 3PMSF.


Bridgestone, tires and digital solutions

Just a few months after the acquisition of Webfleet Solutions, Bridgestone launched the first integrated tire and digital solutions offer. Whoever purchases six Duravis R002 tires from Bridgestone Partners or a First Stop network point with a single order will receive a free Webfleet activation kit that includes on-board hardware (installed free of charge) and access for three months to the platform and its data storage cloud, including communication with drivers, display of fleet performance data and real-time traffic visualization. Webfleet is now used on more than 1.2 million vehicles. Duravis, designed for long distance routes, earned a B on the European energy label for its steering tire and C for traction.

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